The legal translation of the electronic discovery process

The basic definition of a lawsuit is to bring or oppose a legal action in a court of law, to become involved in a legal case. International litigation can take place in a U.S. court, a foreign court, or both. Litigants can be governments, commercial entities, individuals, organizations, etc., in any combination.

Today we will look at the role translation services play in the electronic discovery process during international litigation. International litigation is a complex, high-stakes process. During an international case, the discovery process is even more complicated due to different legal systems, laws regarding the transmission of legal documents across national borders, laws regarding the release of documents in each nation, and how each judicial system operates. The translation of legal documents influences every stage of the litigation process, making it possible for lawyers to protect their clients’ interests.

How Law Firms Use Translation Services During the Electronic Discovery Process

When language barriers exist in a legal case, there is no way the case can proceed without language services. The electronic discovery process for international litigation is just one case, but thousands of legal documents enter the electronic discovery process. Company databases are replacing dusty rooms full of filing cabinets. Virtual data rooms have provided access to vast amounts of documentation that would otherwise have been inaccessible or time-consuming to obtain. Fortunately, today we have language professionals with sound methods and state-of-the-art software to get the job done right. Here are some ways law firms use translation services to assist them in the discovery process in international cases.

What is the discovery process?

The discovery process is the first stage of a legal case. Discovery is when all parties involved in a legal case exchange information relevant to their arguments. This ensures that everyone is informed about exactly what the case is about, the positions of their opponents, and what the evidence is. As you can see, there would be big problems without accurate legal document translation services. Discovery also has a set of documents unique to the process:

  • These are questions or requests from one side of the legal case that are formally drafted and passed to the other side for response. Language services ensure that the questions are clearly understood, with clear parameters.
  • Requests for Admissions. This is a way of asking the opponent to acknowledge or deny specific facts or allegations. A lawyer cannot afford to lose valuable information by making a request that contains mistranslations.
  • Requests to Produce Documents. These are specific requests for certain documents or records.
  • All of the documents described above may require legal translation depending on the languages involved in the litigation.

Translation services open doors

Legal translation services enable law firms to conduct multilingual international litigation. If lawyers are not fluent in every language involved in the case, then there is no chance of them taking on that case without professional legal document translation services. Then, every litigant, witness, juror and other parties must have translated copies of all relevant documents.

Legal translation services are the gateway for law firms to take on international and multilingual cases. By utilizing translation services and interpretation services, they never have to turn down a case due to language barriers.

Law firms also require international clients to find them, and have online visibility by translating their websites and marketing materials, and using international SEO for the keywords they need to rank for.

Translation for electronic discovery process is effective

using translation services for international discovery saves time! Attorneys and legal counsel no longer have to review hundreds of pages of documents just to see if they will be needed. Translation services help attorneys have more time to prepare their arguments and spend less time searching for the right information. Using translation services for the discovery process also ensures that documents, exhibits, etc. are submitted on time. Time is of the essence in this process. If certain items are not submitted within the strict deadlines set by the court, they will likely not be admitted. This can result in losing a case that should have been won.

Legal translation promotes accuracy

Using a professional translation company for discovery during an international case ensures accuracy. The ABC Translations team that handles document translation for the electronic discovery process will work to provide the highest linguistic standard and the best language solutions for each project so that no argument is flawed, no evidence is rejected, no testimony is misrepresented and no data is distorted due to a language barrier. Plaintiffs, defendants and attorneys can be confident that their material has been converted from one language and legal system to another without loss of accuracy and meaning.

Translation for the electronic discovery process is comprehensive

Using a professional translation agency that is experienced and properly resourced makes the discovery process more thorough because translators find elements of importance that could be missed. In addition, legal professionals are advised on best practices and translation options in multilingual litigation. Having the right help can make cross-border litigation easier by allowing you to navigate the complications of the process with support that ensures all legal systems are followed and taken into account. Here are some of the documents that translators help localize and translate during the electronic discovery process:

  • Internal business documents such as company policies, employee handbooks and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
  • Intellectual property such as patents and copyright documents.
  • Event records such as meeting minutes.
  • Correspondence such as letters, emails and audio transcripts.

Translation for the Electronic Discovery Process with ABC Translations

When translating legal documents, it is essential that the work is done by experienced legal translators. But that’s not the beginning. Machine or computer translation may not seem to belong in the world of international electronic discovery and legal translation, but it plays an important role. We have the procedures, the technology and an experienced team to handle deadlines and large volumes of translation to keep your case moving. We can analyze your needs and assist in the litigation process with human translation or machine translation. Here are some ways our translation agency uses machine translation to help our clients with the international electronic discovery process.

  • Machine translation helps determine which documents are needed. Machine translation programs can scan hundreds of pages in a short amount of time to find words and phrases that are related and meaningful to the case. This saves time by eliminating irrelevant material.
  • Machine translation software has an advantage in the legal world because in the legal field, there are many phrases that mean exactly the same thing in any given context. The program’s memory can store these phrases and complete them where they appear.
  • Machine translation for the electronic discovery process can produce a draft of a document for a professional legal translator to edit later, saving more time and making the software smarter.
  • Most importantly, machine translation delivers the translation to the legal team in a fraction of the time and cost, allowing them to review the documents very quickly to determine which documents are relevant to the case.

Machine translation does not work well for all documents. Perhaps the document is old and in poor condition, so the quality is not good enough to produce an electronic version, or it is handwritten. A professional legal translator will handle the translation of such documents.

A crucial activity in translating documents for the electronic discovery process is to establish when and how machine translation should be used. Which documents are relevant and need professional human translation and which can be translated in an automated manner? It is extremely important to partner with a translation company that can validate whether the quality of the machine translation output for a language combination is good enough, which documents can use machine translation only and also which ones need further editing after machine translation.

The ability to incorporate different solutions alongside machine translation as a tool to perform document translation for the electronic discovery process in international litigation has been a game changer in the legal field.

Keep this in mind when looking for translation for the electronic discovery process

When looking for a legal translation agency to support international litigation, be sure to ask important questions about their services to evaluate their offerings.

We have looked at human translation, machine translation, both and post-editing options to improve the quality of the machine translation output. It is also important to ask specific questions about your translation services: use of glossaries and translation memories, and understanding the capabilities of your CAT tools. Other issues to address include file preparation processes, file conversion and last but not least, file security and confidentiality of your information.

As with any lengthy process, understanding your needs, understanding your options, managing time and costs is important to the end result: a translated document that supports your litigation.

Speaking the language of international law

In assisting law firms with the electronic discovery process for an international case, ABC Translations aims to eliminate any uncertainty when it comes to the correctness or completeness of the translation work. We believe in enabling our clients to take on multilingual cases with confidence and seek justice for clients anywhere and everywhere.

Nathan Woods

About the author

ABC Translations